Lovin’ the Rain!

In Texas we love rain - especially when it falls in summer! At 2pm today it began raining, and even now three hours later, it’s still thundering. Here’s some pics of the kiddos enjoying the wet sloshy goodness!!

The Monster Who Ate My Peas


This is by far one of our favorite books. Bill brought it home years ago when Ella was only about 3 years old. He himself has never really liked peas but I think in an effort to have his daughter like them (and the pretty great illustrations) lured him in. It may just have had some effect, because both our kids love peas, and love this book. It’s still a good reference to get them to try new things.

So when we found that it had been turned into a play and was playing in Austin, we were super excited to get tickets. The play was ok, as happens many times, it wasn’t much like the book. But we enjoyed each other and the cool overcast day. Afterward we went out for some bbq (where the kids had their first Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers specialty drinks) and then explored out on the dock behind the restaurant.

Pottery Fun

Ella and I were invited to a special girls only morning of painting pottery with the Neil ladies - some of our favorite people!

Christina was the pro and helped Ella and I choose our projects - she also sported quite trendy spiral ringlets in prep for a fun night ahead with her sister.

Ella chose a princess bank and I chose an Easter egg. We had fun chatting together and learning new techniques. Ella was fortunate to get an instructor to help her finish the eyes of her princess.

Grandma Nancy

Quick visit - few pictures - lots of love.

Loving School!

I love that in this new home we have a real school room/loft. It’s open, bright, airy and yet a place where we can keep stuff organized and focused. The kids have enjoyed it as well as you can see…

And here’s Liam showing off his graduation from Pre-K Hooked on Phonics! When I can track down the movie of him reading to his dad, I’ll upload it!

Rebirth

“Let the morning bring word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.”
~ Psalms 143:8-10

It requires tremendous faith to rest. Those words rang out at me as I read them on a random blog post a day ago. And it sums up what this big gap of nothingness on our own family blog has been all about ~ rest.
Before I read those words I would have said it was about the busyness of life and increasing demands on my time as a homeschool mom with Liam entering Kindergarten and having had, yes, another move. I would have admitted what I’ve secretly battled: inner frustration and failure at letting this beautiful marker of our families activities and growth fall by the wayside.

But something else was happening too. Rest. Good old fashioned life - away from formal documentation, and in some ways an interruption of my own need to please others and put on a good show. Instead, winter came and the quiet of that season stretched out and life went on. And this time I didn’t put up a fight. I just let the snow fall, and the months stretch out.

And now here I am, over a year later. Lots of growth happened under the surface and I hope it shows in how I write and spend my time updating, and in the things I choose to share with family and friends. I have no doubt that this website will change as time goes on; because, while yes I needed a break for physical and emotional reasons, there are some practical things that make updating this website cumbersome and time consuming. So we may relocate things altogether to make it even easier.

In the meantime… I welcome spring. It has, in terms of our life, arrived right on time.

November

Happy Thanksgiving!

Becky’s birthday was in early November and she and Jeff came for a brief weekend visit. We surprised her with a cake and she surprised Ella with a new skirt!

Homeschool tour of the Williamson County Museum in Georgetown, TX.

Thanksgiving: This was the only picture that I got that day. We were watching Ella’s recital video from the past spring. Later that weekend though, my aunt and I helped my mom decorate her new home for the holiday season!

Hubby’s work on Church Christmas service.

A couple of pics of our everyday school days… Ella’s American Girl Meeting focused this month on gymnast Mckenna. The pictures show the girls trying to walk a “balance” beam while carrying boxes or weights of concerns with them - great lesson on setting down things like anger and fear. And Bill’s company finished their work on the new Halo game! And to celebrate the company handed out commemorative Halo lego sets - finally a way for him to share his work with his boy!

October

We celebrated our Super Hero Dad with some super hero masks for his birthday dinner! Too Cool!!

Ella’s breakfast in bed this morning! When her dad asked last night what she wanted, she said eggs, fruit and more spaghetti (from dinner). So we made her a fresh batch this morning & it made a perfect mop of hair for her plate. :) Her dad had carved some foam into a doll bed and air mattress for her doll house. The boys presented them to a very excited girl! Later that night we had a small celebration with our small group, cake and candles aglow.

Ella had asked for a Pump It Up party for months. For those who don’t know, it means 90 minutes of jumping in enormous bouncy houses/slides/obstacle courses. I’m not exaggerating the size either, I slide down one of the slides and my stomach ended up in my throat on the way down… high, high, high!

Our home school group took a trip to a nature and animal preserve about 45 minutes away. Beautiful day and we even enjoyed a hayride out to see - ostriches?!


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Ella’s troop enjoyed an outing to the Chisholm Trail Cattle Drive.
In the latter half of the 19th Century, cattlemen rounded up longhorns by the millions in Texas, cropped their ears, branded their hides, and drove them north across the Indian Nations into Kansas along the Chisholm trail to the rail heads to be shipped back east. Somewhere along the way, without intending to do more than work for a hard day’s pay and board, they launched the legend of the American cowboy.

The cattle drives followed three major routes through what is now Oklahoma and Kansas.

One of those routes, was known as the Chisholm Trail. Cattle Trailing Cattle trailing was the principal method of getting cattle to market in the late nineteenth century. It provided Texans with a practical, economical means of marketing surplus livestock.

We took some family time out one weekend and went to Sweetberry Farms. It was a much needed, beautiful October day out together!

Our Pinocchio and his Blue Fairy!

September

September is typically the calm before the super busy month of October, and we soak that calm in. One of the fun things we did was to go on a family picnic/hike at a nearby park early one Saturday morning. It was so quiet, perfect weather, and we beat the crowds. After the walk, we took a detour onto the running track and let me tell you - Ella is a natural born runner. She probably rounded that track (passing every group she approached) at least 5 times! That’s a lot of running for a 7 year old!

Last spring Liam decided that he wanted to be Pinocchio for Halloween (after asking for the book to be read to him nearly every night). Not long after Ella said she wanted join in the fun and be the Blue Fairy! I found some great ideas about how to pull a handmade Pinocchio costume together, but a fairy dress is just out of my range of talents, and so it was ebay to the rescue for the dress! The wings were from her fairy party from the year before. I snapped some pictures them with the early pieces to the costume, practicing their parts.

One of the projects that had been on my to do list was to wash all the windows and screens. It hadn’t been done since we moved in and frankly wasn’t a job I’ve really ever tackled at the homes we’ve lived in before. So I assembled the tools and blocked out a Saturday to take it on. Fortunately for me, my sweet boy wandered out complete with his super hero identity ready to help! He stuck with me for most of the afternoon and did a fantastic job! He also got a chance to have a little building time with his dad at one of the Lowe’s kids workshop! They made a really cool fire engine!

Ella’s American Girl club kicked off the fall with Kirsten who takes place in 1854 as she and her family travel from Sweden to America and eventually Minnesota where they encounter some cultural similarities and some differences and even a native american girl that becomes a special friend. After a history and geography lesson, the girls were led in swedish and american games of the time and a some swedish cookies and juice for a snack. I got some pictures of Ella in her “Kirsten hair”. : )

August

As a way to celebrate the Summer Olympics, we invited our friends, the Neils over for a boys vs girls Kinect sports battle! Ella made the medals herself and - yes! - the girls won!

I was commissioned by my mom to take some pictures of her new place for her to send to her friends back home. It’s a one bedroom apartment and you’ll notice in one of the pictures she’s sitting next to her sewing table, which is right in front of a big window that looks out to the clubhouse so she can see her new friends as they walk by to get their mail and things. God has provided for her in such big and even small ways. Such gratitude.

But the biggest excitement came at the end of the month with our little boy turning 4!!!! He was very clear that he wanted a Batman Party, and we found plenty of ideas online to bring it all together. But as usual my own husbands creativity outweighed them all with his hand built Bat Mobile and Bat Cave which we turned into a ball pit!

Invitation:
The invitation came with a personalized bat character paper craft. Each friend (girls too!) received a bat paper craft with their own likeness behind the mask.

Party Prep:
The Bat Cave was completed first, several weeks early, and the Bat Mobile took shape the weekend before the party. And even before the paint job - it was a hit with the birthday boy! Mom and Dad stayed up late into the night, ironing on bat symbols on individual t-shirts and making some balloon villains. They were originally for a game, but ended up too delicate for what we had planned so they mostly served as decoration. The penguin, in fact, kept popping! Not making this up… Bill had to redo his face several times. : )

Partay:
With all the other handmade steps, I splurged on the cupcake cake - Liam helped pick it out, but it’s so much cooler in person! And he loved all the yummy food including two face pretzels and joker juice.

Some final pics of Ella enjoying the quiet of a book and her swing, and one of the lazy critters that frequent our backyard trees.